Different Armstrong, different tour – same result. American Cervelo-Lifeforce rider Kristin Armstrong dominated the Women’s Tour of New Zealand, winning the penultimate time trial stage on Saturday and overall classification on Sunday.

Australia’s Oenone Wood (High Road) placed second in the six-stage event, with Canadian Erinne Willock (Webcor) rounding out the podium positions in third.

The race was largely decided in Saturday’s stage five time trial around Wellington, which 2006 Time Trial World Champion Armstrong won comfortably with a ten second advantage over second-placed team-mate Karin Thurig. Wood was a further two seconds adrift to take third on the 6.5km course.

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (High Road) won the final criterium stage in Wellington, but by then no one was going to unseat Armstrong from the top rung of the podium despite the overall winner losing 45 seconds to Teutenberg.

Armstrong heads up the Swiss-based Cervelo-Lifeforce squad, a team which has a direct lineage from the Raleigh-Lifeforce outfit lead by Welsh rider Nicole Cooke last year. Cooke left the team and joined the new Halfords-Bikehut/Great Britain squad for 2008, making the two teams direct rivals. However, Welsh-based sponsor Lifeforce has continued its relationship with the team.

All of the women’s teams now head to Europe to start their spring classic and European campaigns. For Cervelo-Lifeforce, that means this weekend’s Gran Premio di Brissago?Lago Maggiore in Switzerland.

The next round of the UCI Women’s World Cup is the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio in Italy on March 24 – this is set to be Nicole Cooke’s first race of 2008, and it’s an event that she won last year.

Kristin Armstrong and team-mates celebrate taking the 2008 Tour of New Zealand

WOMEN’S TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND: OVERALL RESULTS
1 Kristin Armstrong (USA) Cervelo-Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team in 12-22-16

2 Oenone Wood (AUS) Team High Road at 23secs
3 Erinne Willock (CAN) Webcor Builders Cycling Team at 2-02

RELATED LINKS
Cervelo-Lifeforce team launched
Cooke to start racing in March

EXTERNAL LINKS
Women’s Tour of New Zealand website